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Virtual Home Sales – Do You Think it is Safe for a Client to Buy a Home Sight Unseen?

By August 19, 2015No Comments

geo1It seems everything is online, absolutely everything. We can buy clothes online, electronics, even groceries… and these are all delivered right to your door. Groceries continue to be a surprise because who thought that one could purchase produce without seeing and feeling it? Well, the same seems to be occurring with real estate.

Virtual home sales (more common in the U.S. with all the fire sales going on) seem to be occurring more and more, especially with savvy real estate investor who are buying properties sight unseen. Here in Canada, many Canadians bought U.S. real estate without even taking a visit, just because prices dropped so low that it was worth the risk to some. There are even realty TV programs where investors buy homes at auctions that don’t even take place in front of the property in question!

This is not even considering the international housing market and the thousands of foreigners who buy real estate here, from abroad, through their trusted real estate sales professionals.

Could you ever see this becoming the norm in Canada? A day when a client comes to your office and views properties with you online, and then boom, is ready to make an offer. Sounds crazy, but in Canada this could be a standard practice in only a few years.

Look at the tools available to you when showing a property:

  • You are able to access photos of the property from the street and from above.
  • Many agents offer virtual tours of properties online to preview the inside.
  • You are able to access demographics in a particular area to identify who lives in a neighbourhood, schools, transportation, etc…
  • You are able to view a property from above to see what is beside it, behind it, and in the area.
  • You can search the property’s history and transfers.
  • You are able to access comparable sales in a neighbourhood.
  • You can validate that your client is the legal homeowner of the property.

There is not much that you can’t show your client online about a particular property as it stands today – outside of walking them through it. In the future though, they may not even want to.

Risky business or what could become the norm in the future – what do you think?

For information about how you can validate the information presented on your deals please visit